RC Jaipur Gurukul focuses on women’s healthcare projects

Slum dwellers given groceries by the club under its Food for All drive.

Eighty per cent of the members of the Rotary Club of Jaipur Gurukul (RCJ Gurukul), RID 3056, out of a total of 264, are women, so it is but natural that most of the projects done by the club, especially those related to physical and mental health, are women centric.

Headed by Princy Thomas, head of the department of Business Studies at the IIS Deemed ­University in Jaipur, the club has been very active in doing a clutch of welfare projects for the community. “Ours is an institution-based club, with most of the members belonging to the university and coming from both the teaching and administration side. On our way to work many of the women observed the people living in a slum along the way, and noticed their struggle for leading a decent life and meeting their day-to-day needs. So in September-end we organised a 10-day Food for All drive, in which the focus was on providing food to the underprivileged slum residents.”

Lunch being served to the inmates of the Apna Ghar Ashram in Jaipur.

The club members collected food items such as atta, rice, sugar, pulses, oil, and other essential items and distributed these to the slum dwellers. They also raised awareness about the dangers of malnutrition and plan to continue similar efforts “to help the poor and needy in our community.” About 100 people benefitted from this drive.

But being a women-majority club, and keeping in mind the fact that women often tend to neglect their own health, while providing all the attention and care to the entire family, this club’s leaders have given priority to healthcare and fitness projects focused on women. It periodically organises health talks on ‘wellness for women’. One recent one was an interactive session “focusing on nutrition and dietary tips for women’s health, the importance of regular exercise and types of workouts suitable for women, their gynaecological health and the importance of regular check-up,” said Princy.

Nutritional diet being distributed to pregnant and lactating women.

On the issues that this session threw up, she says that many a times, such talks tend to be monologues or lectures. “But in this particular session, the participating women had so many questions for the speaker, Dr Indira Sarin, urogynaecologist and obstetrician from Mangalam Medicity, that we shortened the talk and opened up the session for a two-way dialogue.”

Dr Indira discussed the importance of gynaecological health, and explained that regular check-up is essential for detecting and preventing problems such as cervical cancer, ovarian and breast cancer. Members had an opportunity to put forward their specific queries during the session. While one of the topics covered was the kind of post-natal floor pelvic exercises that should be done after delivery, there were many questions asked on loss of urinary control. “Most of the time women are shy or hesitant to speak out on such issues, and frankly, they don’t get the right kind of person to ask these questions. But in this session, they really opened up and asked what kind of remedial action was available to tackle this problem that many of them face,” she added.

Teaching aids being given to teachers.

The speaker was more than happy to address the questions and said the best part was that whether a woman is 40, 50 or 60, such problems can be taken care of by proper exercises. “She demonstrated the exercises and made the participants do them on the spot,” said Dr Megha Arya, club secretary, who is from the Department of Psychology, School of Behavioural Sciences, IIS.

The session, which was highly successful also discussed mental health issues, work-life balance and how to handle stress. Those club members who could not attend the meet physically joined online.

NSS and Fine Arts students of IIS Deemed University painting the walls of Mahatma Gandhi Government School.

Another successful project, done under the club’s podcast series, was a programme titled ‘Game-changing lessons: Mind to medals,’ in which Shagun Chowdhary, Olympian and entrepreneur, talked about her experiences. Princy explained that through these podcasts, “the club explores the stories, wisdom, and inspiration behind remarkable individuals who have not only excelled in their profession but are also igniting a positive change in society. In this episode, Shagun, an extraordinary sportsperson and founder of Narangah, an organic farm, talked about how with passion and purpose, she has harnessed the power of wellness to achieve greatness in her career of a successful sportsperson and entrepreneur.”

This particular year, she added, the podcast series is focusing on mental health, and how through various avenues, sports being one of them, people can take care of their mental health.


Busting menstrual myths

Walls sporting a fresh look in the government school.

Feeling that girl students in colleges need to be given the right perspective on menstrual health and hygiene, as in Rajasthan, even in this era, so many myths and superstitions prevail on menstruation, RCJ Gurukul, in collaboration with Unicharm, conducted a session on menstrual wellness for the girl students and teachers of Rajkiya Mahatma Gandhi Vidyalaya. “We believe that knowledge of and right information on menstrual wellness are essential for growing girls. It helps them to understand their bodies, manage their menstruation safely and hygienically, and feel confident and empowered during their periods. The session also addressed their queries regarding certain myths associated with menstruation in the community, such as not entering the kitchen, not touching men or even coming in front of them, etc. We feel it is essential to bust such myths so that girls do not begin their adolescent stage on the wrong foot, and accept menstrual cycles with a positive mindset knowing that this is normal and every woman goes through it, and it is not evil, as some are made to believe,” said Princy. At the end of the session sanitary pads were distributed to the girls.


Breast cancer prevention

Sanitary napkin packets distributed to girls at the Rajkiya Mahatma Gandhi Vidyalaya.

Club secretary Megha added that to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness month, the club, in partnership with the IIS, organised a talk by Dr Uttam Soni, a renowned oncology surgeon, to spread awareness about and prevention of breast cancer. The surgeon discussed with the students the risk factors for breast cancer, and what can be done to reduce these factors, such as exercising regularly, maintaining a reasonable weight, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption and totally avoiding smoking or intake of tobacco products.

Most of the time women are hesitant to speak out on issues such as loss of urinary control. But in this session, they really opened up and asked what kind of remedial action was available to tackle this problem.
Princy Thomas, president, RC Jaipur Gurukul

Dr Soni also emphasised the need and importance of breast cancer screening, and said that all women should have regular mammograms and clinical breast exams from the age of 40, with those at high risk, beginning the screening earlier.

Other projects include sponsoring meals for the inmates of the Apna Ghar Ashram, a shelter for the homeless and those abandoned on the streets, and gifting dialysis sessions at the Shri Kanchan Dialysis, which provides free dialysis to those who can’t afford it.

Podcast with Olympian Shagun Chowdhary (right).

She thanked PDG Ashok Gupta for sponsoring a project under which the club members gifted, on the occasion of World Students’ Day, a colourful wall with educational and vibrant murals telling many magic tales, to the students of the Mahatma Gandhi Government School in Jaipur. The murals were done by the NSS students of the school in collaboration with the Fine Arts students of the IIS Deemed University.

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